One of the most heartbreaking things that can happen to a pet-loving family is for a family member to become allergic to that pet. Along with their hair, most animals continuously shed minute flakes of dead skin and dried saliva that contain sticky proteins. These can act as allergens to trigger allergy symptoms in vulnerable individuals. Sources of pet allergens should be minimized in any effort at reducing pet allergies.
Of course, the first thing to check is whether the pet (or which pet) is the source of the allergy. Once this is confirmed, here are some tips when you’re intent on reducing pet allergies in your home:
- Make allergy sufferers’ rooms a pet-free zone, although please note that this will not make it allergen-free. Since pet allergens are often airborne and adhere to materials such as people’s clothes, shoes and hair and skin, the allergens may arrive free-floating and/or transported by unwitting family members (or the allergy sufferer him- or herself!). Keeping dogs and cats out of the room will greatly reduce the presence of allergens, however.
- Have the pet brushed daily (outside) and bathed weekly, either by a non-allergic family member or by a professional groomer, and use a hypoallergenic shampoo for the bath.
- Vacuum carpets and other soft furnishings daily, using a vacuum with a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter, and consider reducing the number of said furnishings to make this easier. Have them steam-cleaned several times a year.
- Damp dust a couple of times a week and wash walls, floors etc frequently.
- Use air conditioners, air filtration systems and room purifiers with HEPA filters around the house, particularly in the sufferer’s room, and change the filters frequently. Filters with a MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) of between 6 and 12 will be sufficient to help in reducing pet allergies.
- Keep the house well-ventilated; open doors and windows whenever possible and install exhaust fans.
- Upsetting though it will be, the allergic person must not be allowed to touch or cuddle the pet, and if they do come into contact, hands must be washed and, if necessary, clothes changed immediately.
If you’re interested in more information in improving air quality in your Treasure Coast home, please contact us at NisAir Air Conditioning & Heating for further information.